5 Reasons to join a toy library
Toy libraries have been around for decades, but they seem to be sadly under the radar as a talking point in the sustainable living conversation. They come in many different versions. Some are mobile, some are open once a month. Some are run by a local authority and some are run by private businesses. If you have one in your local area (in Cardiff it’s The Honeycomb) I recommend joining. Here’s why.
1. Good for the planet: The toy industry is booming, and most of that boom is coming from plastic toy manufacturers. These plastic toys are usually cheap, not extremely durable, and nearly impossible to recycle. They also will probably hold a child’s attention for a few days, most likely a few hours. And they are everywhere; party bags, birthday presents, impulse buys. By joining a toy library you can cut down on your own consumption of toys by borrowing rather than buying. If your child likes a regular treat, you can still do this affordably AND skip the cheap plastic aisle by bringing your child to your local toy library. Every little thing helps, and if that means joining a toy library for your toys, why not give it a try?
2. Good for your bank balance: If your kid loves treats and new toys (hands up if your kid DOESN’T!) then joining a toy library can really save you money. Each library will be run differently, depending on who is running it. Some might be free, some might charge a monthly fee, some might charge per toy borrowed, but however it’s run, borrowing is ALWAYS cheaper than buying. At The Honeycomb we charge a £5 registration fee, which gets you your library membership card and a toy to borrow for a month. Each toy borrowed after this is just £1.50, including a large wooden doll house that retails at £79.99 and other popular toys like Lottie Dolls and Happy Hopperz which retail around the £20 mark. Your kid can get to play with a new (to them) toy and you haven’t broken the bank to make it happen!
3. Free space to play: Toy libraries are often a good space for communities to come together to have a little play. Because toy library toys are meant to be played with and enjoyed, you can bring your kid for a little play without worrying about them ruining anything. It’s not like a normal toy shop where all of the toys are destined to be bought and so need to be kept in new condition. A toy library toy is meant to be used, tried, played with. You can bring your kids to let them try a few and have a little play while you’re deciding which to take home. Nice little trip out of the house and fun for your little one.
4. Try before your buy: If you’re looking to buy your kid a more expensive item for a special occasion and aren’t sure if they’ll actually like it, it helps if you can loan the toy first. If it’s something that they really seem to enjoy when borrowed and you can see it getting loads of playtime, you can buy it with the peace of mind that your money is well spent. If it doesn’t go down as well, no harm done, return it and try something else!
5. Expand your horizons: Because you’re not having to fork out a lot of cash for toy library toys, it’s easier to try toys that you just aren’t sure about. Not sure your kid is ready for a 40 piece puzzle? Borrow one and see. Not sure if your little one is really that into wooden trains? Borrow one and see. Not sure your eight year old will sit through a boardgame like Cluedo? Borrow one and see! You might see toys and games in your local toy library that you’ve never noticed before. Giving them a try might be just the thing to encourage your child to try out a new skill or learn something new.